A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Toca Cars is a quirky driving and building app that mimics a homemade cardboard toy car, road, and building set. It includes mildly violent content: Kids detonate a bomb to clear the screen. Players choose from a girl or boy driver, and two modes of play: an already constructed world for beginner and youngest players, or an empty world that players can design themselves by tapping on the buildings and other objects to populate the screen. As kids choose from a variety of objects -- from buildings, street signs, and ramps to ice cream spills and a Swedish flag -- they drive around the roads, bump into objects, and jump ramps. This whimsical, one-person driving game also includes a pesky dog that chases the player's car, and a robot that pushes everything in its way. Build, drive around, knock down, get chased, jump ramps, and more on Toca Cars.
What's it about?
Choose the girl or boy driver, then select one of two modes: Pre-constructed World or Empty World. In the pre-constructed mode, kids simply drive the car around by moving their finger in the direction they want the car to go. In the empty world, kids scroll through and drag objects on the bottom of the screen to places on or around the roads, then drive, knock stuff down, or jump ramps as in the other mode. Drive away from the chasing dog, and avoid bumping into the robot or it will push your car around. A fun, free-flow driving experience.
Is it any good?
With its cardboard cutout objects, bright colors, and adorable drivers and cars, TOCA CARS is a lot of fun to look at and mostly fun to play, although maneuvering around the dog and robot "mechanical playmates" can be frustrating. Also, the use of a bomb to clear the screen of buildings seems curiously out of step with the rest of the app, which is otherwise clearly suitable for youngest app users. A more kid-friendly choice for screen-clearing could be an eraser or even play scissors to match the cardboard theme. That said, it's really fun for kids to choose what to include on and along their car's roads, then jump the ramps, knock over objects, and drive almost anywhere they want on this non-racing driving app. They can knock over anything in their path in this no-rules playland (which is somewhat misleading, given that most cars can't knock down trees in one bump, but this is make-believe play).
Unfortunately, the dog and robot that chase, bump, and knock over the player's car are downright maddening at times and don't seem to jibe with the fun-loving road trip. If kids aren't bothered by the dog-and-robot chasing, Toca Cars can be a fun way to construct and drive around in a bright, merry world of their own making.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Hobbies: building
Science: momentum, motion
- Skills: Creativity: imagination
- Price: $.99
- Release date: September 18, 2013
- Category: Education
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- Size: 39.00 MB
- Publisher: Toca Boca
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS ??
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.